Send to

Choose Destination
Front Microbiol. 2017 Oct 25;8:2100. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02100. eCollection 2017.

Role of the Human Breast Milk-Associated Microbiota on the Newborns' Immune System: A Mini Review.

Author information

Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Villa Santa Maria Institute, Como, Italy.
Clinical-Chemistry and Microbiology Lab, IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


The human milk is fundamental for a correct development of newborns, as it is a source not only of vitamins and nutrients, but also of commensal bacteria. The microbiota associated to the human breast milk contributes to create the "initial" intestinal microbiota of infants, having also a pivotal role in modulating and influencing the newborns' immune system. Indeed, the transient gut microbiota is responsible for the initial change from an intrauterine Th2 prevailing response to a Th1/Th2 balanced one. Bacteria located in both colostrum and mature milk can stimulate the anti-inflammatory response, by stimulating the production of specific cytokines, reducing the risk of developing a broad range of inflammatory diseases and preventing the expression of immune-mediated pathologies, such as asthma and atopic dermatitis. The aim of the present Mini Review is to elucidate the specific immunologic role of the human milk-associated microbiota and its impact on the newborn's health and life, highlighting the importance to properly study the biological interactions in a bacterial population and between the microbiota and the host. The Auto Contractive Map, for instance, is a promising analytical methodology based on artificial neural network that can elucidate the specific role of bacteria contained in the breast milk in modulating the infants' immunological response.


AutoCM; colostrum; human milk; immunomodulation; milk microbiota; newborn’s immune system

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center